The Way of Improvement Leads Home: American History, Religion, Politics, and Academic life.

The Way of Improvement Leads Home: American History, Religion, Politics, and Academic life.

A biweekly discussion dedicated to American History, historical thinking, and the role of history in our every day lives. Hosted by historian John Fea

Episodes

February 14, 2021 67 min
In this episode we talk with Carolyn Eastman, author of The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States' First Forgotten Celebrity. Eastman chronicles the life of James Ogilvie, an itinerant orator who became one of the most famous men in America in the years between 1809 and 1817. Ogilvie's career features many of the hallmarks of celebrity we recognize from later eras: glamorous friends, eccentric clothing, sc...
Share
Mark as Played
Ice hockey is now a global sport. Even Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, and Australia have national teams. The National Hockey League has teams in Miami, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Nashville, and Phoenix. Junior league hockey is played in Shreveport and Amarillo. Anyone who wants to understand hockey today must not only tell a story about skates, rinks, sticks and goals, but must also tell a story about television, marketing, suburbia, social welf...
Share
Mark as Played
January 31, 2021 78 min
On June 1, 2020, Donald Trump declared himself a "law and order" president and marched to historic St. John's Church for a photo-op with a Bible. Our guest in this episode, historian Aaron Griffith, helps us understand why evangelicals cheered this moment. Join us for a conversation on evangelicalism, crime, and mass incarceration with the author of the fascinating new book, God's Law and Order: The Politics of Puni...
Share
Mark as Played
Our guest in this episode is historian and public intellectual Claire Potter, author of Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy. She helps us make sense of the current state of alternative media and how it has hooked Americans on politics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Share
Mark as Played
In this episode we talk about the connections between liberal Protestantism, American foreign policy, and the Cold War in mid-20th-century America. We discuss these themes through an examination of the life of former U.S. Secretary of State (1953-1959) John Foster Dulles. Our guest is John Wilsey, author of God' Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/ad...
Share
Mark as Played
Our guest in this episode is Abram Van Engen, author of City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism. He helps us make sense of the phrase "city on a hill" in John Winthrop's famous 1630 sermon, both in its 17th-century context and today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Share
Mark as Played
November 29, 2020 83 min
How shall we live? Where do we find the resources for living well? In this episode, historian Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn examines the reappearance of ancient philosophical thought in contemporary American culture. She argues that we need to take back philosophy as part of our everyday lives as a means for piecing together a coherent moral framework for democratic life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Share
Mark as Played
Howard Thurman was a mid-20th century theologian, writer, activist, and mystic who had a profound influence on the leaders of the Civil Rights movement. Thurman's writings--especially his 1949 work Jesus and the Disinherited--provided an intellectual and spiritual guide to those trying to make sense of an era of racial and social unrest. Our guest in this episode is historian Paul Harvey, the author of Howard Thurman & The ...
Share
Mark as Played
November 15, 2020 44 min
Did you know that Thomas Jefferson edited a copy of the Christian gospels? In this episode, Smithsonian curator and author Peter Manseau joins us to talk about the so-called "Jefferson Bible" or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. We explore Jefferson's religious beliefs and how his "Bible" was appropriated by later generations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Share
Mark as Played
In this episode we talk with historian Lorri Glover about Eliza Lucas Pinckney, a South Carolina woman who lived through the American Revolution in South Carolina. Pinckney's story sheds light on gender, agriculture, politics, and slavery in this era and unsettles many common assumptions regarding the place and power of women in the eighteenth century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Share
Mark as Played
August 9, 2020 73 min
What does it mean to be a man in white evangelical Christianity? In this episode we talk with historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. We discuss definitions of masculinity, the Gospel Coalition, Beth Moore, Donald Trump, the 2016 election, the differences between White and Black views of Christian manhood, and how the thesis of her book might b...
Share
Mark as Played
In this episode we talk with Daniel Feller, the editor of The Papers of Andrew Jackson at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. We discuss his work as a documentary editor, the uses of Andrew Jackson in the age of Trump, and a controversial paper he recently delivered at the annual meeting of the Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Share
Mark as Played
Have you ever wanted to write a children's, middle-grade, or young adult history book? How do you get started? What is the process like? Do I need an agent? In this episode, we talk about writing history for young readers with former Smithsonian educator and author Tim Grove. Tim is the author, most recently, of Star Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem. Learn more about his work at TimGrove.Net Lear...
Share
Mark as Played
June 21, 2020 56 min
If our mailbox in the wake of the death of George Floyd is any indication, many listeners of this podcast and readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home blog are making honest efforts to understand the meaning of phrases like “systemic racism” and “white privilege.” Can racism in America be solved by a simple change of individual character? Or does it require much deeper shifts in the ways we order our collective lives? In this e...
Share
Mark as Played
June 7, 2020 70 min
Did you watch "The Last Dance," the ESPN documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls? In this episode of the podcast, Baylor University sports historian Paul Putz helps us make sense of it. Join us for a conversation about Jordan's place in NBA history, the role of the black athlete in American culture, and some thoughts on how the stories of athletes like Jordan provide a window into our own identities as...
Share
Mark as Played
The members of Donald Trump's controversial cabinet are regular features of the 24-hour news cycle. He has fired members of his cabinet who challenge his thinking on a host of foreign and domestic issues. Just ask Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and Jeff Sessions. But how did our first president, George Washington, imagine the role of the cabinet? In this episode, we think historically about this important part of the executive br...
Share
Mark as Played
We are back! COVID-19 forced us to make some changes to our production, but the podcast is ready to forge ahead into the Summer. Since many Americans are still stuck at home playing games with their families to bide the time, we thought it would be fun to devote an entire episode to your favorite childhood toys and playthings. Public historian Susan Fletcher, author of the recently released Exploring the History of Childhood and Pl...
Share
Mark as Played
March 29, 2020 43 min
What happened when British soldiers and their families arrived in Boston in 1768? In Episode 66, we talk with Carleton College history professor Serena Zabin about her new book, The Boston Massacre: A Family History. Zabin's close reading of everyday life in revolutionary Boston will forever shape how we understand this important moment in our shared past. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Share
Mark as Played
March 15, 2020 63 min
The American historian and cultural critic Christopher Lasch (1932-1994) had a powerful influence on the world of ideas. What would the author of the best-selling Culture of Narcissism (1979) have to say about Donald Trump and his particular brand of populism? In this episode we talk about Lasch, Trump, populism, progress, and "evangelical elitism" with intellectual historian Eric Miller, author of the award-winning Hope in...
Share
Mark as Played
Is the Christian Right conservative? In this episode we talk with Grove City College history professor Gillis Harp about the relationship between Protestantism and American conservatism. Harp puts conservatism in the context of American history from the colonial period to the present and offers a sympathetic, if sharply critical, view of religious conservatives. Harp is the author of Protestants and American Conservatism: A Short H...
Share
Mark as Played

Chat About The Way of Improvement Leads Home: American History, Religion, Politics, and Academic life.

Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Crime Junkie
Dateline NBC

Dateline NBC

Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

For You

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeartRadio App.

    Connect

    © 2021 iHeartMedia, Inc.